Summary: In this message we see the prophet Elijah battling 450 false prophets on Mt Carmel. (1 Kings- pt 4)
"HOW LONG WILL YOU WAIVER?"
TEXT: I KINGS 18:16-40
Several weeks ago when we talked about Elijah we said that he was an outdoorsman who came riding into town to tell King Ahab that because of the sin in the land, because the people had turned their backs on the one true God and were serving Jezebel’s God baal, Elijah said that there would be no rain in the land until he said so....
Our text today picks up the scene nearly 3 years later. For 3 years the land had seen no rain... And Israel was nearly a dried up waste land, as they sat under God’s judgment.
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah once again and said, "GO AND PRESENT YOURSELF TO AHAB AND I WILL SEND RAIN ON THE LAND..." So Elijah got up and went.
Meanwhile Ahab was out searching with his servant Obadiah (who unknown to Ahab was a devout believer in God and had hidden 100 prophets of God in 2 caves, providing them with food and water -- saving them from the bloody sword of Jezebel that was dripping with the blood of many of God’s prophets).
Ahab and Obadiah were out looking for some grass so that they could fed the mules and horses or else they would have to kill them.... And as they were going Ahab said to Obadiah, "let’s split up you go this way and I’ll go that way...
Not long after they split up Obadiah was walking along and he ran into Elijah, recognizing him he immediately bowed to the ground and said "is that really you, Elijah?"
Elijah replied, "YES IT IS ME, NOW GO TELL YOUR MASTER, GO TELL AHAB THAT I AM HERE.."
And Obadiah said, "WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG THAT YOU ARE HANDING YOUR SERVANT OVER TO DEATH? NOW ELIJAH DON’T TAKE THIS WRONG, I AM NOT A COWARD, I HAVE SERVED THE LORD FAITHFULLY FROM MY YOUTH, I HAVE HIDDEN HUNDREDS OF THE LORD’S PROPHETS FROM THE SWORD OF JEZEBEL. BUT DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA OF THE HATRED MY MASTER HAS TOWARDS YOU... HE WANTS YOU DEAD. HE HAS SENT MEN TO EVERY NATION LOOKING FOR YOU. AND HE HAS MADE THOSE NATIONS SWEAR THAT THEY COULDN’T FIND YOU WHEN EVER THEY SAID YOU WERE NOT THERE. HE HAS BEEN DOING THIS FOR 3 YEARS... ALL EVER THINKS ABOUT IS SEEING YOU DEAD. AND IF I GO AND SAY I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AND HE COMES AND DOESN’T FIND YOU -- HE WILL KILL ME."
When Elijah then assured Obadiah that he would indeed be there when Obadiah returned with Ahab... "AS THE LORD ALMIGHTY LIVES WHOM I SERVE, I WILL SURELY PRESENT MYSELF TO AHAB TODAY."
So Obadiah got up and he told King Ahab... And Ahab burned with rage as he returned to the palace where Elijah was. And when he saw Elijah (the one who he blamed for all the trouble he had experienced during the last 3 years -- when he saw his most hated enemy) he shouted out, "IS THAT YOU, YOU TROUBLER OF ISRAEL?"
And Elijah said, "DON’T BLAME ME FOR YOUR TROUBLES, I AM JUST THE MESSENGER OF GOD.... BLAME YOURSELF, YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE TURNED THE PEOPLE AWAY FROM GOD, AND ENTICED THEM TO FOLLOW AFTER THE BAALS..."
It really wasn’t Elijah fault was it? I mean to blame him for bringing bad news would be like us blaming the mailman for delivering a notice from the IRS that we are being audited for cheating. Elijah was simply God’s messenger.
And then Elijah told the King "summon the people, from all over Israel and bring the 50 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah and meet me on Mount Carmel!"
And so the 450 false prophets and the people of Israel gathered on Mt Carmel to meet the prophet of God. The clock was ticking and the showdown had begun.
This account on Mt Carmel is one of the most dramatic events in The OT. The prophet Elijah battling 450 false prophets fire from the Lord coming down upon the mountain...
And sometimes we can get so caught up in the drama, in the action of an event like this, that we forget the reason behind the event. On Mt Carmel that day God was informing His people that they had a decision to make.... And as we study this text we will see that we (that you and I) have the same decision to make today....
I. WE LIKE THE ISRAELITES MUST MAKE A CHOICE
"HOW LONG WILL YOU WAVER BETWEEN 2 OPINIONS? IF THE LORD IS GOD, FOLLOW HIM; BUT IF BAAL IS GOD FOLLOW HIM..."